Uttar Pradesh Trip Information
This capital of Uttar Pradesh has a number of historic buildings, monuments and gardens. Standing on the banks of the river Gomti, Lucknow is famous for its typical culture, cupolas and refinements. With the disintegration of the Mughal Empire the Nawabs of Oudh became very powerful and independent. They ruled this part of the province for about a century after the fall of the Mughals. The builder of modern Lucknow was Asaf-ud-Daula (I 775-1797), the fourth Nawab in succession. In this dynasty Wajid Ali Shah was the last ruler, known for his extravagant pleasure loving pranks, and other tantrums. In 1 856 he was deposed and deported to Calcutta by the British. Then after, the First War of Independence in 1857 took place in which the small chieftains and princes of the adjoining states took on the British forces but they lost eventually. The traces of the struggle of 1 857 are still visible here. Its historical buildings are mainly of the 18th century. Aminabad and Hazratganj are its two main shopping centres. In the old city the bazar, popularly known as ‘Chowk’ a large variety of artistic pieces, brocades, saris, pottery, embroidery and chican work overflow the shops. Lucknow is also famous for Dusseri Mangoes, kakadis and a variety of original dishes. This capital city is very well linked with all the major towns and cities of the country by air, rail and road connections.
The Great Imanibara
Popularly known as ‘Bara’ Imambara, this was built by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula in 1784. With its extensive frontage and the huge tomb measuring 15 meters high, 49 meters long, and 16 metres wide, without any supporting pillars, this is the largest vaulted hail in the world. Its labyrinth of corridors are popularly known as ‘Bhulbhaliyah’. From the top of this massive structure one can have a line view of the city. This Imambara was started as a famine relief project in 1784.
The Small Imambara
This Small or ‘Chota’ Imambara of Hussainabad was built in 1837 by Mohd. Ali Shah. It contains the tomb of Ali Shah’s family and the Nawab’s silver covered throne. The edifice is crowned with domes and minarets. The central dome is golden.
This extensive structure, reminding of the 1857 struggle for Independence, is now a quiet place with its well maintained gardens and lawns. It was built in 1800 for the British residents in Lucknow. During the uprising of 1857 all the British residents of Lucknow took refuge here till they were rescued on the 87th day by Sir Hevelock. But the revolutionaries besieged it again till Sir Cohn Compbell broke through the siege the second time. Just in front of the Residency is the Martyrs Memorial erected in the honor of the martyrs who dies in 1857 uprising.
Allahabad [Chief of the Teerthas]
Situated on the confluence of the holy rivers Ganga and Yamuna, Allahabad, known as Prayag since times immemorial, is an ancient town. Its pristine glory was described in superlative terms by the Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang who visited this city in 634 AD. By the end of sixteenth century it became an important town and Akbar rechristened it as Allahabad. In 1801 it came into British possession. Allahabad has been famous as a seat of learning, culture, art and tradition. Allahabad University is one of the oldest indian Universities. Pandit Nehru’s ancestral home, ‘Anand Bhawan’ is also in Allahabad which had been one of the ‘nerve centre’ of the country’s agitation against the British Rule since thirties of this century. The places worth visiting in Allababad are ‘Anand Bhawan’, University, Fort on the bank of the river Yamuna, Khusro’s tomb and the Immortal Banyan Tree “The Akshaya Bat” which, on account of the various legends attached with it. had been the popular ‘jumping pad to heaven’. It is said that even up to medieval times, pilgrims seeking salvation jumped down to death into the river Yamuna from this tree.
The Magh and Kumbha Mela
No reference of Allahabad can be complete unless one mentions about these fairs. The bathing festival known as the Magh Mela is an annual event and lasts for 15 days to a month between January and February. Thousands of pilgrims come to have a dip in the holy waters of the two sacred rivers on this occasion. Every twelfth year the Magh Mela turns into Kumbha Mela when millions of devout people congregate here and a huge temporary township is set up on the river side. The Ardha Kumbha festival is held every sixty year. The Kumbha Mela is held in commemoration of the struggle between the Gods and Demons for the nectar churned out of the sea. The struggle made few drops of nectar spill out of the pitcher holding that nectar. At four places those nectar drops were spilled out where these Kumbha fairs are held. They are Prayag or Ahlahabad, Haridwar, Nasik and Ujjain at different astrological combinations after every 12 years. The biggest being the Allahabad one where about 2 to 3 crore people take bath. It has also figured in the Guiness Books of World Record. Allahabad has many places of stay suiting to all class of people. It is very well connected with all the major cities of the country by .air, rail and road-routes.
About 300 km. south of Delhi on Bombay-Delhi trunk railway route lies this city, founded in 1613 by Raja Bir Singh Deo. The city is associated with the young and heroic Rani Lakshmi Bai, who during the first national uprising of 1857 had led her forces against the British Imperialism. Her heroic struggle against the foreign rule makes her the Joan of Arc of Central India. The Jhansi Fort is a place worth seeing. It offers panoramic view of the surrounding area and also contains a museum run by Archeological Survey of India.
Ayodhya is one of the seven sacred cities of India. It is situated on the Lucknow-Mughalsarai Railway line and is also linked by road with the most major cities of U.P. Ayodhya is also the birth-place of Lord Rama, the hero of the epic Ramayana. There are many spots and shrines hallowed by Lord Rama and his espouse Sita’s name. Among and his espouse Sita’s name. Among the places of tourist interest are the Kanak Bhawan, Bharat Kund, Sita Rasoi and Hanuman Garhi.
Kushinagar or Kasia is 55 km. east of Gorakhpur. It was here that Lord Buddha passed into Nirvana under the sal tree. There are a number of Buddhist stupas and viharas and temples of the Gupta period. The most important of these is M Stupa. The large statues of reclining and seated Buddha are other tourist landmark of the place.
Varanasi: The City Eternal
The eternal city of Varanasi, situated on the western banks of the holy Ganges, takes its present name from the two tiny monsoon rivers— Varuna and Assi between which the city lies. Also known as Benaras, it is as ancient as the Hindu faith itself. From times immemorial pilgrims have congregated here seeking atonement of past sins, religious merit for the present and the Moksha in future. Every pious Hindu aspires to visit Kashi at least once in a life-time, and if the luck would have it, to die there with the sacred name of Lord Shiva on his or her lips. The ancient most cities like Nineveb, Babylon and Thebes are now part of the history only but Varanasi is still existing, full of verve and life. It is also known by its ancient name Kashi. It was here in Sarnath that Lord Budha first enlightened the people with its divine teachings more than 2,500 years back. Although the foreign invaders looted this city repeatedly and razed monuments and shrines to the ground, many old monuments still attract the tourists. The city is well connected with the major tourist centres throughout the country by rail, road and air. It is air- linked with Delhi, Agra, and Calcutta. Lucknow and Khajuraho. The following spots of Varanasi deserve special mention.
The River Front
The crescent shaped river front with its enchanting ghats rising tier upon tier, represent the most fascinating aspect of this holy city. The devout Hindus inspired by their faith in reincarnation gravitate here from all part of the country for abulutions. The spectacle is at its best at dawn and at dusk. In the small hours of early morning pilgrims take a dip in the holy waters of Ganga and offer prayers to the sun-god. In the evening lighted lamps and fragrant flowers brighten the water from as they are set afloat in lelaf boats with the chanting of prayers and holy Mantras. These ghats rich in love and legend. over 5 km. in length, arc the stage where ashsmeared sadhus mediate, devout recite prayers and mantras, yogis practice hatha yoga, dead bodies are burnt and multitudes bathe in the sacred stream. Dashashvamedha, Manikarnika, Tulsi and Panchganga are some of the famous ghats.
The golden spiralled temple of Vishwanath is the holiest place in the city Varanasi is dedicated to this deity. First, it was destroyed by the slave Sultan Qutbuddin Aibak and then by Aurangzeb who threw the idol of the deity into a nearby well called Gyan Vapi. It was taken out and installed in another temple built on the site by Maharani Ahalya Bai Holkar of Indore in 1776. MaharajaRanjit Singh covered its spire with a tonne of gold plating in 1835. It is also known as the Golden Temple on this account.
Bharat Mata Temple
It is a unique temple having the carved out marble map of India as the deity instead of any customary deity. This temple on Vidya-peetha Road is dedicated to Mother India, and was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi.
Tulsi Manas Mandir
Near Durga Temple on Durga kunda Road is situated Tulsi Manas Temple. It is here that the great saint-poet Tulsidas lived and partially created the celebrated epic ‘Sriramcharitamanas’ expounding the great and noble deeds of Lord Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu. Here the whole epic is engraved on it walls along with Murals.
Dedicated to Goddess Durga, the consort of Shiva, the shrine was constructed in 18th century. Its unique design of small spires converging at the summit into one, symbolically represents that everything has to ultimately merge in the Supreme Being.
Benaras Hindu University
Popularly known as BHU, this great seat of oriental learning and the largest residential university in Asia was founded by Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya in 1916. It occupies an area of about 2,000 acres and has a new Vishwanath Temple, a splendid shrine in marble. The Bharat Kala Bhawan at the university campus has an excellent collection of Indian paintings, sculptures and terracotta
On the other side of Ganga is the Ramnagar Fort, a 17th century structure. It is the residential palace of the former rulers of Varanasi. The Royal Museum has a unique collection of old silver brocades, ancient furnitures and silver howdahs (elephant saddles), costumes, etc. The museum and the fort the open from 10 AM to 12 noon and 1 PM to 5 PM. The entry fee is Re.1 only.
Among other places of interest in Varanasi arc Sankatmochan and Annapurna Temples, Gyanvapi Mosque, the Kashi Vidyapeeth and Marmandir Observatory. Varanasi has quite a hig range of hotels, guesthouses, tourist bungalows and numerous Dharamshalas. There are also 3 star and 2 star good western style hotels. Varanasi is also famous for silks, brocades, jeweler, brass and copper wares, ivory, curios, musical instruments and especially for silk brocade fabric and saris. Among the main shopping centers are Chowk, Vishwanath Gali, Gyamvapi, Thateri Bazar, Lahurabir, Godolia, Golghar and Dashashvamedha Ghat. For local tours many means of transport are easily available at reasonable rates in Varanasi itself. For making excursion to Sarnath, it is better to make your base at Varanasi.
This cradle of Buddhism lies, some 11 km. north-east of Varanasi. It was here that Shakyamuni, Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment at Gaya and having achieved it, delivered his first sermon here in the Deer Park more than 2,500 years ago. Thus, Lord Buddha set in motion the Wheel of Dhamma (Law) here. Then came Ashoka, two hundred years later erecting several huge and beautiful stupas and the famous lion capital which has been adopted as the national emblem of India. Down these centuries this place has been a great centre of Buddhist pilgrimage. Although the invaders plundered this region also, still some of the monuments survive. Among thc prominent ones arc Dhamekh and Dharrnarajika Stupas Dhamekh (6th Century) marks the sacred place where Buddha set the Wheel of Dharma in motion. Its walls are decorated with fine geometrical patterns and arabesques. The Dharmaraj Stupa erected by Emperor Ashoka contains the relics of the Master. The Mahabodhi Society built a temple here in 1931 known as Mulagaudha Kuti Vihara. The Buddhist relics excavated and found at other sites of the country are enshrined here; other monuments of interest here are the Chaukhani Stupa. the Chinese, the Tibetan and the Jam Temples: The Mahabodhi Library here houses a rare collection of Buddhist writings and manuscripts. On Buddha Purnima, the birth anniversary of the. Enlightened one, a big fair is held here and the relies of Lord Buddha are taken out a procession. These relics are on public view only on this occasion.
About 300 km. from Delhi towards north east lies this hilly town known as the ‘Queen of Hills’ because of its salubrious climate and enchanting envious. Especially in summers and autumn this becomes a ‘must’ destination for every visitor dismayed by the heat of the plains. Mussoorie lies on a horse-shoe shaped hill slope of’ the Himalayas.
Its history can be traced back to 1827 when Capital Young, an adventure seeking military officer discovered it and laid the foundation of this gayest of the hill stations. A tourist here can trek, ramble, play golf or tennis, catch mashear and trout or enjoy the gay club life.
The places of tourist interest in Mussoorie are: Gun Hill (ropeway ride and for the grand view of the valley), Municipal Garden (b I garden and mini artificial lake with boating facility); Kempty Fall (an enchanting fall which drops from a height of 600 feet in five distinct cascades; taking bath underneath it is a divine experience); Lal Tibba (highest peak in the town): Cemel’s Back (for sun-set view—a sublime experience); Yamma bridge (27 km. away from Mussoorie and the ideal place for fishing). For the devout there are Nag Devta Temple, and Surkhanda Devi Temple. In Mussoorie there are a number of good western style hotels, holiday homes, rest houses, tourist bungalows and tourist complex. The tariff of hotels varies from season to season.
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